Customs Officers, Soldiers Clash in Lagos

Gate of Nigerian Army Shopping Arena, Bolade, in the Oshodi area of Lagos State

There was panic at the Nigerian Army Shopping Arena, Bolade, in the Oshodi area of Lagos State as some soldiers clashed with officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, on Thursday.

The customs officers reportedly traced six missing containers, suspected to have carried contraband, to the market and moved to impound them but soldiers at the Army Shopping Arena prevented the customs officers from impounding the containers, which were driven into the shopping arena, commonly called Arena Market.

The soldiers insisted that the customs officers had no right to impound anything in the military market.

The officers were said to have engaged the soldiers in a free-for-all at about 9am, during which there was panic in the market as business activities were interrupted.

Confirming the incident , the Public Relations Officer, PRO, NCS, Federal Operations Unit, Ikeja, Jerry Attah, said that customs seized six containers from the market.

“The military men assisted in the arrest, and there was no clash. We have a good working relationship with the military.

“Based on information, our men trailed six 40-foot containers to the Arena Market, and we contacted the Commanding Officer of the 9 Brigade. They gave us maximum cooperation and assistance.

“There was no commotion. We are waiting for the owners of the containers to come before we will open the containers for examination.”

On his part, the spokesperson for the 81 division of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Samuel Kingsley said, “The customs men trailed some contraband goods, but due process was not followed.

“When they got their procedures right, we allowed them to have access to the place. There are procedures. You don’t just enter the barracks without permission.

“We are not a lawless society and we do not allow such things. So, when the customs got their procedures right, they were allowed in.”